Fighting Sioux merchandise sales soarThe North Dakota State Board of Higher Education’s decision to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo triggered a run on Fighting Sioux merchandise Friday.
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
The Board of Higher Education’s decision to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo triggered a run on Fighting Sioux merchandise Friday.
Dozens of customers filed through racks of clothing, caps and stickers at Scheel’s Sports on Columbia Road.
“Anything and everything,” said Mike Schlenker of Grand Forks. “Jerseys,
T-shirts, get what I can before it’s gone.”
“I have three boys, and I’m buying them some things I hope they’ll hold on to into adulthood,” said Laura Raymond of Grand Forks. “It’s very disappointing.”
Kari Ames recalled when she was a student at Grand Forks Central High School that she, her sister and her two brothers didn’t like having to change the nickname from Redskins. She was buying memorabilia for her 11-year-old son.
“He is a hockey player, and all he ever wanted to do is play for the Sioux,” Ames said. “He was pretty upset with the news. The Ralph is his second home.”
Shoppers also were depleting the racks as fast as the Sioux Shop staff could stock them inside Ralph Engelstad Arena. Jody Hodgson, general manager of the REA, said there’s no plans to stop stocking or selling the merchandise. UND holds the trademark rights to the Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo.
“It’s business as usual for us,” Hodgson said.
Hodgson said he returned Friday from Chicago to an inbox full of opinions from UND season ticket holders and fans, “100 percent of which were negative.”
“This is significant from any other nickname and logo change because none of the others have had the fervor, the support or the circumstances we have here,” Hodgson said. “These are the most loyal, most supportive, most dedicated fans in college and pro sports.”
Outside the doors of REA’s main lobby were two signs with a bunch of daisies taped between them them.
“Forever Sioux,” one read.
“You can take our name, but you can’t take our tradition,” the other said.
Vehicles in the REA parking lots displayed small flags with the Indian head logo. Parents could be seen taking pictures of children with the REA in the background.
Nichole Shotwell, a UND senior from Eden Prairie, Minn., was snapping photographs of the logo above the east doors.
“I didn’t follow the politics, but I definitely didn’t want to see it go,” Shotwell said.
Sentiments were also expressed online with the call to wear Fighting Sioux gear. By mid-afternoon Friday, more than 1,400 responses had been filed to “Sioux Gear Friday” on Facebook. Another 700 had replied to “Show Your Pride.”
“You don’t have to live in North Dakota to support the Sioux,” Becky Renshaw posted.
“I got Stockholm, Sweden covered,” Zachary Moline wrote.
“Sioux gear over Afghanistan tonight,” Michael Hirata posted on the Facebook site.
Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.